News / Middle East

Support Plummets for Egypt's Morsi

Egyptians chant slogans during clashes between supporters and opponents of Egypt's president and his Muslim Brotherhood in Luxor, Egypt, June 19, 2013.
Egyptians chant slogans during clashes between supporters and opponents of Egypt's president and his Muslim Brotherhood in Luxor, Egypt, June 19, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Mohamed Elshinnawi
— A year after being elected president and almost three years since Egypt was rocked by the Arab Spring uprisings, Mohamed Morsi is increasingly in trouble with the nation’s electorate and, possibly, its military.

When Morsi took office last year, his public approval rating stood at 57 percent, with most saying he and his Muslim Brotherhood party were “a positive development.”

But with the economy in shambles and the electorate increasingly wary of the Muslim Brotherhood’s intentions, a new public opinion poll conducted by Zogby Research Services (ZRS) now rates Morsi’s approval at 28 percent.

Even the general Morsi appointed as defense minister and army chief is warning that the military may have to intervene if the government and its opponents can’t reconcile their differences before massive anti-government demonstrations scheduled next Sunday
.
The Zogby poll gauged the opinions of 5,029 Egyptian adults between April 4th and May 12th, 2013.  It concluded that almost all of the 28 percent voicing approval for Morsi were identified with his Muslim Brotherhood party or other Islamists like the Al Nour Salafi party.

Significantly, the poll indicated more than 70 percent of the electorate are now concerned that "the Muslim Brotherhood is keen to Islamize the state and control its executive powers."

Muslim Brotherhood seen as overreaching

But the polling also showed that the public considers Egypt’s political opposition groups such as the National Salvation Front and the April 6th Movement splintered and poorly organized. Even when considered together, the opposition could claim the confidence of only 35 percent of the adult population, while 40 percent of the electorate appeared to have no confidence in either the government or any of the opposition parties.

The poll also looked at who might step in as president if Morsi falters and gauged the popularity of nine potential leaders, including all those who head major parties or who ran for president against Morsi. None were viewed as credible by more than a third of the electorate.

The only person showing significant support was Bassem Yousef, a popular TV satirist who has been charged by the government with insulting the presidency and Islam.

But the most remarkable number in the polling by far was the 94 percent approval rating given the army, which won strong support from all sectors and parties. Those who supported opposition parties and Egypt's so-called “silent majority” also indicated they would like to see the army play a larger role in society.

Few were surprised then when General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the army chief who also serves as defense minister, warned over the weekend that the military was prepared to step in if liberal and Islamist supporters clash violently in next Sunday’s scheduled demonstrations.
   
El-Sissi said the military would then be obligated to intervene to prevent Egypt from plunging into “a dark tunnel.”

“Egypt is in crisis,” concluded pollster James Zogby. “The economy is in shambles with no clear direction, rights are being eroded, and a minority-supported party controls the power over a deeply fractured polity.”

What is next in Egypt?

But Zogby and other experts on Egypt say Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, with its superior organizational abilities, will remain hard to challenge politically.

FILE - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters at the Presidential palace in Cairo, July 13, 2012.FILE - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters at the Presidential palace in Cairo, July 13, 2012.
x
FILE - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters at the Presidential palace in Cairo, July 13, 2012.
FILE - Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi speaks to reporters at the Presidential palace in Cairo, July 13, 2012.
“The movement (the Brotherhood) doesn't need to be popular if it continues its ability to rally its followers around a cause and to the ballot box,” said Zogby. “Until the opposition builds an organization that can compete, the Islamists could remain on top.”

One unknown factor in this equation is the so-called Tamarrod (rebel) movement, which says it has collected 15 million signatures on a petition voicing "no confidence" in Morsi, who won the presidency with 13 million votes. The petition campaign has accused the Morsi administration of "failing to implement promised policies that improve the life of ordinary people."

The Zogby poll also looked asked about potential support for new parliamentary elections, an idea put forward by the Islamic parties. But Zogby’s polling indicated the idea is rejected by most other Egyptians, with a substantial majority saying that they do not believe new elections would be fair or transparent. The opposition, and a majority of the electorate, strongly favors drawing up a new constitution, an idea is rejected by supporters of the main Islamic parties.

The only proposal that receives near unanimous support from all groups is the convening of "a real national dialogue,” though how this could be carried out and what it could achieve remain vague.

Is there a role for the U.S.?

Though many believe the Tamarrod movement could spark the kind of government-changing events of the Arab Spring in 2011, few are convinced events would develop in the same way again.

“The Obama administration is not expected to repeat its support for another popular uprising,” said Zogby, “but rather might call for continued efforts to build the democratic institutions and conduct parliamentary elections.”

Marina Ottaway, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, argues that the only thing the U.S. can do is to encourage Egypt’s secular opposition to organize and be ready to achieve better showing in any new parliamentary elections.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ahmed Medhat Fahmy. from: central coast California.
June 24, 2013 7:10 PM
I'm sorry to inform you that the numbers you speak of and statistics are false. A big portion of the eligible voters inEgypt and abroad boycotted the elections when they were given the American version of democratic elections ( THE BEST OF 2 EVILS ) ! Having an exe air force man from Mobarak's regime and the muslim brotherhood as the top candidates was not what the demand of the revolution were. It was rather the counter revolution and the back up plan to counter the arab spring in action. Did you think Egyptians ever approved being ruled by backwards fundamentalists ?! Do you still believe everything your government sources tell you. When is journalism in the west going to break the chains of propaganda and absolute obedience ?! Egypt was given the brotherhood as punishment for embarrassing the old regime and the military that backed it. It was a a very well planned passive agressive response to the revolution. A terror and pacification tactic till they came up with a plan for damage control.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid